Josephine Caroline Klasson

Josephine Caroline Klasson[1, 2]

Female 1865 - 1937  (71 years)

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  • Name Josephine Caroline Klasson  [2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
    Born 22 Mar 1865  Vimmerby, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11
    Address:
    Storebro Bruk 
    Gender Female 
    Emigration Nov 1865  Döderhult, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Fredriksfors 
    Emigration 1870  Ukna, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Pettersborg u Hyllela 
    Emigration 1873  Ukna, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location  [15
    Address:
    Överström 
    Emigration 14 Nov 1881  Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Address:
    Tingetorp 
    Immigration Apr 1891  LaPorte, LaPorte, Indiana Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Arrival 27 Apr 1891  New York City, New York Find all individuals with events at this location  [5, 6, 7
    Name Carolina Josefina Fyrstén 
    Name Carolina Josefina Larsdotter 
    Residence 1900  Chetek, Barron, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Residence 1905  Chetek, Barron, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    Residence 1910  Burlingame, Osage, Kansas Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Residence 1920  Fremont, Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Address:
    Election District 13 
    Residence 1930  Rock Springs, Sweetwater, Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Address:
    311 Gail Street 
    Residence 1935  Fresno, California Find all individuals with events at this location  [12
    Died 31 Jan 1937  Fresno, Fresno, California Find all individuals with events at this location  [8, 10, 16
    Buried 2 Feb 1937  Fresno, Fresno, California Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Address:
    Mountain View Cemetery
    Fresno, California 
    Person ID I452  Swanstrom
    Last Modified 5 Nov 2021 

    Father Anders Johan Reinhold Andersson,   b. 29 Sep 1831, Gamleby, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Mar 1887, Gamleby, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years) 
    Mother Johanna Carolina Fyrstén,   b. 28 Nov 1846, Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Oct 1917, Västra Ed, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years) 
    Married Jun 1864 
    Family ID F52  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Adolph Ferdinand Swanstrom,   b. 6 Oct 1862, Ukna, Kalmar, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Feb 1904, Chetek, Barron, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 41 years) 
    Married 11 Feb 1886  Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Children 
     1. Hugo Frederick Swanstrom,   b. 19 May 1886, Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 27 Jan 1971, Fresno, Fresno, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 84 years)
     2. Martin John Swanstrom,   b. 19 Jul 1888, Gärdserum, Östergötland, Sweden Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1959, Hot Springs, Fall River, South Dakota Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     3. Esther Frances Swanström,   b. 26 Dec 1892, Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Apr 1965, Phoenix, Maricopa, Arizona Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 72 years)
     4. Ellen Sophie Swanstrom,   b. 19 Sep 1895, Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Feb 1949, Fresno, Fresno, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years)
     5. Hildur Marie Swanstrom,   b. 11 Jun 1899, Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 15 Jul 1984, Stockton, San Joaquin, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 85 years)
     6. Harry William Swanstrom,   b. 1 Dec 1903, Chetek, Barron, Wisconsin Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 Feb 1957, Farson, Sweetwater, Wyoming Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 53 years)
    Last Modified 8 Dec 2021 
    Family ID F281  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Photos
    Josephine Swanstrom.jpg
    Josephine Swanstrom.jpg
    Swanstroms,vEsther, Ellen Hildur, Hugo, Martin, Harry & Joseph
    Swanstroms,vEsther, Ellen Hildur, Hugo, Martin, Harry & Joseph
    Josephine Swanstrom
    Josephine Swanstrom

  • Notes 
    • She was the illegitimate daughter of the maid Johanna Fyrstén. Her father was not named in her birth or death records, but has been shown through DNA to have been her mother's employer. Probably, she was conceived on the night of Midsummer's Eve. She was named Carolina Josefina. Carolina was her mother's name. Josefina was the name of the Swedish Queen Dowager, whose March 14 birthday would have been celebrated a week before Josephine's birth. The name Josefina might also have been for her mother's 11-year-old sister Maria Josefina. Or, I think it might be possible that she was named for St. Joseph, whose feast day, March 19th, would have been celebrated on the Sunday before Josefina was born. Josefina's surname is not given in her birth record, but might have been Fyrstén. Much later, it became Larsdotter, then Claesson or Klasson.

      In 1870, when Josephine was 5, she moved with her mother from Döderhult to Pettersborg, Hyllela, Ukna. In 1873, when she was 8, her mother married Lars Claesson and they moved to Överström. The clerical survey says that she was at Esjidskola in 1874 and at Överströmskola in 1875. There is a note next to her name in 1879, "bet. 26 March 1879 for berefelaer tice sinefor ata Nast. erdsgaing i Överum." When her mother and stepfather moved to Lofta in November 1881, Josephine was 16. She left Lofta the same day they did, but instead of moving with them she moved to Gärdserum, where she lived under the name Carolina Larsdotter with her grandmother's cousin Sven August Ögrim and his wife Stina Sofia Tillberg at Toletorp. The Ögrims came there themselves from Gamleby a few days after she did. The emigration and immigration records call her "Pig. Carolina Josefina Larsdotter." This was the first time that a surname is used for her in the records. The household survey, prepared a few months later, calls her a foster daughter of the Ögrims. The Ögrims had only one child, a son Sven who was 12 years older than Carolina. He had already left home and it seems likely that they wanted a daughter. She lived with the Ögrims from 14 November 1881 until her marriage in 1886.

      On 11 February 1886 she married Adolf Svanström, her foster father's nephew and farmhand, and her own second cousin once removed. After marriage, she was listed on the household rolls under the surname Claesson, and lived with her husband on her foster father's croft.

      She immigrated to America in 1891 with her husband and two sons, Hugo and Martin. In America, she used the name Josephine rather than Carolina. The Swanströms lived first at LaPorte, Indiana, where Josephine had an aunt, her mother's sister Josephine Fyrstén Nelson. A year later they moved to Rockford, Illinois, where Adolph worked in a factory. He became an American citizen in 1896. There is no record that Josephine, Hugo, or Martin ever became citizens. While living in Rockford, they had three daughters: Esther (1892), Ellen (1895), and Hildur (1899).

      Josephine and Adolph belonged to the Swedish Mission Church, also called the Mission Covenant Church. Sweden passed a Dissenters' law in 1860, legalizing the Mission Covenant Church, the Salvation Army, and other non-Lutheran churches. The family attended the Mission Covenant church in Rockford and Chetek. In Chetek, Adolph was church organist.

      Because Adolph's health was failing and they believed the northern climate would be good for his health, the family bought a farm and moved to Chetek, Wisconsin about 1899 or 1900.

      Adolph died of pneumonia in Chetek in 1904, leaving Josephine with six children. The oldest, Hugo, was 18 and an apprentice cabinetmaker. The youngest, Harry, was a baby of two months. Josephine never remarried. After Adolf's death, Josephine tried unsuccessfully to sell the farm in Chetek. Josephine, and her children Ellen, Hildur and Harry were still living in Chetek in 1905. The older children went to Burlingame, Kansas to live with a cousin of Adolf's. About 1906 (when her daughter Esther was 13), without having sold the farm, Josephine moved with her children to the Stotler community, a community of Swedes near Burlingame, Kansas.

      In Burlingame, Josephine sharecropped on a farm near the town, while she continued her unsuccessful attempts to sell the farm in Chetek. The family attended the Stotler Covenant Church in Osage City. Her son Harry was baptized there in December 1907. This church is a congregation of the Swedish Mission Church in the Stotler area southwest of Burlingame and about eight miles west of Osage City on what is now Highway 56. The original church was torn down about 1985, but the congregation is still in existence (1993).

      A short time later, after 1910, Josephine moved to Marbleton, Wyoming to homestead at a federal reclamation project. Her children Hugo, Ellen, Hildur and Harry moved with her, while Martin and Esther stayed behind. She owned the Marbleton Hotel, while her son Hugo operated a truck farm.

      In 1919, Josephine and her brother Karl Fyrstén, then "of Fyrstens Bruk" inherited a small sum of money from their mother's sister, Josephine Nelson, of LaPorte, Indiana. This aunt left most of her estate to local charities.

      Josephine was listed on the 1920 census near Big Piney in the household of her son Hugo, but shortly after she moved to Rock Springs with Hugo and Harry, the other children having already left home. She bought a house at 311 Gale Street. In 1926 she was living at 217 G Street. There is a family tradition that Josephine never learned English, but Josephine's future daughter-in-law Vivian Luce boarded with Josephine in the 1920s and remembered talking to Josephine over coffee in the kitchen and said that Josephine prefaced each bit of gossip with the words "Could you think ...?" in a heavy Swedish accent.

      In July 1926 Josephine was among the welcoming party for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden when they traveled by train through Rock Springs on their way back from a tour of Yellowstone Park. This Crown Prince later became King of Sweden in 1950 as Gustav VI and reigned until his death in 1973. His wife, the Crown Princess, was Margaret of Connaught, an English princess and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. They were the grandparents of the present king, Carl XVI Gustav. Newspaper accounts say that Josephine greeted the Prince in their native language, telling him that as a girl she had been presented to his father as she was now being presented to him.

      The prince's father was Oscar II, who reigned from 1872 to 1907. He is said to have been Josephine's uncle. Investigating this mystery about Josephine's life is how my generation of the American family came to discover that Josephine's father was a Bernadotte.

      One of the mysteries about Josephine's life is when and where she was presented to the Crown Prince who became King Gustav V in 1907, son of the Oskar II. Josephine told his son Crown Prince Gustav (later Gustav VI) in 1926 that she had once been presented to his father, Oskar II (reigned 1872-1907). Since this would be very unusual for someone of Josephine's social position, we might wonder how it came about. There are no records that she was ever formally presented at court, so this meeting must have been informal. For obvious reasons, such informal occasions are not usually documented in any way.

      In January 1927 Josephine was visited in Rock Springs by her foster brother, Sven Ögrim, then head of the Salvation Army in Germany, during his tour of the United States. The Denver Post and Salvation Army War Cry make no mention of the visit, but a search of the Rock Springs Rocket might reveal more details.

      About 1933 Josephine developed a heart condition, so she moved to California to be near her daughters Ellen and Hildur. She was listed on the 1934 voter registration roll of Fresno as a Democrat. She bought a house on East McKenzie Street in Fresno, and lived there with her son Hugo until she died of apoplexy (a stroke) in 1937. Funeral services were held in the Mission Chapel. Her death certificate gives her maiden name as Josephine Clawson.

      Iris Porter Legg, a granddaughter of Josephine, has a tablecloth, handspun, hand-woven and sewn by Josephine's mother, which Josephine brought to America. Jeanne Swanström, another granddaughter, has oak-framed portraits of Adolph and Josephine, probably done in Illinois in the 1890s. These portraits are charcoals applied over photographic prints. Justin Swanström, a great grandson, has a silverplated sugar bowl and two books that belonged to Josephine: Jesu Lif [Jesus' Life] and Sveriges Historia [Sweden's History]. The sugar bowl was manufactured by a company in St. Louis, and books were published in Chicago, so these are clearly possessions that the family acquired in America.

      -- MERGED NOTE ------------

      She was the illegitimate daughter of the maid Johanna Fyrstén. Her father was not named in her birth or death records, but is said to have been a Bernadotte, probably August, Duke of Dalarna, but perhaps Prince Nikolai Romanovski. She was named Carolina Josefina. Carolina was her mother's name. Josefina was her father's mother's name, the Swedish Queen Dowager, whose March 14 birthday would have been celebrated a week before Josephine's birth. The name Josefina might also have been for her mother's 11-year-old sister Maria Josefina. Or, I think it might be possible that she was named for St. Joseph, whose feast day, March 19th, would have been celebrated on the Sunday before Josefina was born. Josefina's last name is not given in her birth record, but might have been Fyrstén. Much later, it became Larsdotter, then Claesson or Klasson.

      In 1870, when Josephine was 5, she moved with her mother from Döderhult to Pettersborg, Hyllela, Ukna. In 1873, when she was 8, her mother married Lars Claesson and they moved to Överström. The clerical survey says that she was at Esjidskola in 1874 and at Överströmskola in 1875. There is a note next to her name in 1879, "bet. 26 March 1879 for berefelaer tice sinefor ata Nast. erdsgaing i Överum." When her mother and stepfather moved to Lofta in November 1881, Josephine was 16. She left Lofta the same day they did, but instead of moving with them she moved to Gärdserum, where she lived under the name Carolina Larsdotter with her grandmother's cousin Sven August Ögrim and his wife Stina Sofia Tillberg at Toletorp. The Ögrims came there themselves from Gamleby a few days after she did. The emigration and immigration records call her "Pig. Carolina Josefina Larsdotter." This was the first time that a surname is used for her in the records. The household survey, prepared a few months later, calls her a foster daughter of the Ögrims. The Ögrims had only one child, a son Sven who was 12 years older than Carolina. He had already left home and it seems likely that they wanted a daughter. She lived with the Ögrims from 14 November 1881 until her marriage in 1886.

      On 11 February 1886 she married Adolf Svanström, her foster father's nephew and farmhand, and her own second cousin once removed. After marriage, she was listed on the household rolls under the surname Claesson, and lived with her husband on her foster father's croft.

      She immigrated to America in 1891 with her husband and two sons, Hugo and Martin. In America, she used the name Josephine rather than Carolina. The Swanströms lived first at LaPorte, Indiana, where Josephine had an aunt, her mother's sister Josephine Fyrstén Nelson. A year later they moved to Rockford, Illinois, where Adolph worked in a factory. He became an American citizen in 1896. There is no record that Josephine, Hugo, or Martin ever became citizens. While living in Rockford, they had three daughters: Esther (1892), Ellen (1895), and Hildur (1899).

      Josephine and Adolph belonged to the Swedish Mission Church, also called the Mission Covenant Church. Sweden passed a Dissenters' law in 1860, legalizing the Mission Covenant Church, the Salvation Army, and other non-Lutheran churches. The family attended the Mission Covenant church in Rockford and Chetek. In Chetek, Adolph was church organist.

      Because Adolph's health was failing and they believed the northern climate would be good for his health, the family bought a farm and moved to Chetek, Wisconsin about 1899 or 1900.

      Adolph died of pneumonia in Chetek in 1904, leaving Josephine with six children. The oldest, Hugo, was 18 and an apprentice cabinetmaker. The youngest, Harry, was a baby of two months. Josephine never remarried. After Adolf's death, Josephine tried unsuccessfully to sell the farm in Chetek. Josephine, and her children Ellen, Hildur and Harry were still living in Chetek in 1905. The older children went to Burlingame, Kansas to live with a cousin of Adolf's. About 1906 (when her daughter Esther was 13), without having sold the farm, Josephine moved with her children to the Stotler community, a community of Swedes near Burlingame, Kansas.

      In Burlingame, Josephine sharecropped on a farm near the town, while she continued her unsuccessful attempts to sell the farm in Chetek. The family attended the Stotler Covenant Church in Osage City. Her son Harry was baptized there in December 1907. This church is a congregation of the Swedish Mission Church in the Stotler area southwest of Burlingame and about eight miles west of Osage City on what is now Highway 56. The original church was torn down about 1985, but the congregation is still in existence (1993).

      A short time later, after 1910, Josephine moved to Marbleton, Wyoming to homestead at a federal reclamation project. Her children Hugo, Ellen, Hildur and Harry moved with her, while Martin and Esther stayed behind. She owned the Marbleton Hotel, while her son Hugo operated a truck farm.

      In 1919, Josephine and her brother Karl Fyrstén, then "of Fyrstens Bruk" inherited a small sum of money from their mother's sister, Josephine Nelson, of LaPorte, Indiana. This aunt left most of her estate to local charities.

      Josephine was listed on the 1920 census near Big Piney in the household of her son Hugo, but shortly after she moved to Rock Springs with Hugo and Harry, the other children having already left home. She bought a house at 311 Gale Street. In 1926 she was living at 217 G Street. There is a family tradition that Josephine never learned English, but Josephine's future daughter-in-law Vivian Luce boarded with Josephine in the 1920s and remembered talking to Josephine over coffee in the kitchen and said that Josephine prefaced each bit of gossip with the words "Could you think ...?" in a heavy Swedish accent.

      In July 1926 Josephine was among the welcoming party for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden when they traveled by train through Rock Springs on their way back from a tour of Yellowstone Park. This Crown Prince later became King of Sweden in 1950 as Gustav VI and reigned until his death in 1973. His wife, the Crown Princess, was Margaret of Connaught, an English princess and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. They were the grandparents of the present king, Carl XVI Gustav. Newspaper accounts say that Josephine greeted the Prince in their native language, telling him that as a girl she had been presented to his father as she was now being presented to him.

      The prince's father was Oscar II, who reigned from 1872 to 1907. He is said to have been Josephine's uncle. Investigating this mystery about Josephine's life is how my generation of the American family came to discover that Josephine's father was a Bernadotte.

      One of the mysteries about Josephine's life is when and where she was presented to the Crown Prince who became King Gustav V in 1907, son of the Oskar II. Josephine told his son Crown Prince Gustav (later Gustav VI) in 1926 that she had once been presented to his father, Oskar II (reigned 1872-1907). Since this would be very unusual for someone of Josephine's social position, we might wonder how it came about. There are no records that she was ever formally presented at court, so this meeting must have been informal. For obvious reasons, such informal occasions are not usually documented in any way. If Josephine was the illegitimate daughter of one of the Bernadottes, then it seems likely that this meeting was arranged by her father.

      In January 1927 Josephine was visited in Rock Springs by her foster brother, Sven Ögrim, then head of the Salvation Army in Germany, during his tour of the United States. The Denver Post and Salvation Army War Cry make no mention of the visit, but a search of the Rock Springs Rocket might reveal more details.

      About 1933 Josephine developed a heart condition, so she moved to California to be near her daughters Ellen and Hildur. She was listed on the 1934 voter registration roll of Fresno as a Democrat. She bought a house on East McKenzie Street in Fresno, and lived there with her son Hugo until she died of apoplexy (a stroke) in 1937. Funeral services were held in the Mission Chapel. Her death certificate gives her maiden name as Josephine Clawson.

      Iris Porter Legg, a granddaughter of Josephine, has a tablecloth, handspun, hand-woven and sewn by Josephine's mother, which Josephine brought to America. Jeanne Swanström, another granddaughter, has oak-framed portraits of Adolph and Josephine, probably done in Illinois in the 1890s. These portraits are charcoals applied over photographic prints. Justin Swanström, a great grandson, has a silverplated sugar bowl and two books that belonged to Josephine: Jesu Lif [Jesus' Life] and Sveriges Historia [Sweden's History]. The sugar bowl was manufactured by a company in St. Louis, and books were published in Chicago, so these are clearly possessions that the family acquired in America.

  • Sources 
    1. [S975] 1881-1890 Household Survey, Gärdserum, 431, 540.

    2. [S210] U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007.

    3. [S10] Wisconsin, State Censuses, 1855-1905, Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin; Census Year: 1905.

    4. [S6] 1930 United States Federal Census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Rock Springs, Sweetwater, Wyoming; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0006; FHL microfilm: 2342359.

    5. [S3] 1920 United States Federal Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Election District 13, Fremont, Wyoming; Roll: T625_2026; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 56.

    6. [S1] 1900 United States Federal Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Chetek, Barron, Wisconsin; Page: 8; Enumeration District: 0004; FHL microfilm: 1241777.

    7. [S8] 1910 United States Federal Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Burlingame, Osage, Kansas; Roll: T624_451; Page: 25B; Enumeration District: 0094; FHL microfilm: 1374464.

    8. [S1522] U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-Current.

    9. [S235] New York, County Marriage Records, 1847-1849, 1907-1936.

    10. [S170] California, Death Index, 1905-1939.

    11. [S1007] Wisconsin, Births and Christenings Index, 1801-1928.

    12. [S78] U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

    13. [S1489] Wisconsin, U.S., State Censuses, 1855-1905, Wisconsin Historical Society; Madison, Wisconsin; Census Year: 1905.

    14. [S1490] U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995.

    15. [S781] 1876-1885 Household Survey, Ukna, 413.

    16. [S637] Death record.